You have been waiting for this moment for weeks now, and the blessed day has finally arrived. You can finally order online without having to shell so much out to the tax man. Customs have been eliminated on purchases up to $325, and all import taxes have been eliminated for purchases up to $75.
Haven’t we been exempt for a while now?
To much fanfare, the government decided to eliminate customs on personal imports up to 1,200 NIS on 4 December 2011. To the chagrin of many, this decision required that the Minister of Finance sign the order, which he put off for nearly two months. However, today (30 January 2012), the order was finally signed.
Taxes on imports
Types of taxes
There are three taxes which are levied on items brought into Israel from abroad:
- Customs taxes (מכס)
- Purchase tax (מס קניה)
- Value added tax (VAT / מע”מ)
Purchase tax (מס קניה)
Purchase tax falls on a variety of items, most of which are as follows:
- DVDs, videos, CDs, and other electronic entertainment products – 17.4%
- Auto parts – 22.3%
- Microphones – 17.4%
- Answering machines – 17.4%
- Car and home amplifiers – 17.4%
- Mixed foods (מזון מעורב) [I'm not exactly sure what that is either] up to 15 kgs
- Integrated systems (מערכות משולבות) [strike two] – 17.4%
- Soft drinks – 2.9 NIS / L
Update 23 Feb 2012: A few other categories for purchase tax include:
- Cellular phones: 15%
- Food: 0%
- Clothing: 0%
- Footwear: 0%
Reduced and eliminated import taxes
Customs eliminated on purchases up to $325
Customs taxes have been eliminated on purchases up to $325.
The following three conditions must be met.
- The purchase must be imported by mail or alternate mail service.
- The purchase must be for personal use.
- The transaction price must be not more than 1,200 NIS. (This includes shipping.)
Purchase and VAT taxes continue without change where applicable.
Tax-free imports raised from $50 to $75
Items sent by mail or alternate mail service which cost $75 or less (including shipping) will have no tax. Tobacco and alcohol are not included.
Calculating taxes on packages above $75
To see how much you will need to pay in taxes above $75, see the Tax Authority’s tax data table.
This should help all those who are looking for deals abroad (like those who want to get glasses or sunglasses on the cheap)!